Sunday, 12 February 2012

Nutritional value of meat.

Overview of the Nutritional value of meat.

Meat has been a major part of the human diet for at least 2 million years (Higgs and Muluihill, 2002). Beef is Uganda’s most popular meat with annual consumption of 293,000 metric tones in 2002 (source: Meat and meat products are highly nutritious. According to Ferguson (2010), meat is a primary source of water and fat, and contains between 20% and 35% protein, providing all essential amino acids (lysine, threonine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, leucine, isoleucine and valine), as well as good amounts of various micronutrients but very low in carbohydrates and fibers.  It is an easily absorbable source of iron, zinc and selenium, and contains high levels of vitamins B6, B12, and vitamin D, plus significant amounts of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (Ferguson, 2010).

Iron is essential for transporting oxygen in the bloodstream. Insufficient intakes of iron can lead to iron-deficiency anemia and impaired cognitive development in infants and young children. Adolescents have high demand for iron to allow for muscle development and increased blood volume while the onset of menstruation in females makes them vulnerable to iron deficiency (Higgs and Muluihill, 2002). They, along with young children, need plenty of good iron sources in their diets.

Zinc is necessary for growth, wound healing, the immune system, reproduction and cognitive development. Therefore including meat in the diet of adolescents can aid in averting both iron and zinc deficiencies in concert, as these minerals in meat are in the easily absorbable forms (Higgs and Muluihill, 2002). Zinc and iron deficiencies are major problem in Uganda especially among women and children (UBOS, 2006).

However, Ferguson (2010), reported that a publication by the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (2007), raised considerable alarms about the cancer risks associated with red and processed meats, concluding that they are a convincing cause of colorectal cancer. Demeyer et al, (2008); and Ferguson, (2010), further reported that, people should be eating an upper limit of 500 g of cooked red meat per week, and avoiding processed meats.  According to Ferguson (2010), if the conclusion is true and the recommendations are strictly implemented, human consumption of this nutrient source could be substantially reduced or largely prevented.


Sausages are preserved chopped or ground meat in casings after salting and seasoning. Their manufacture is an ancient practice. In modern food technology, several hundreds of types of sausage have been development, but even so the numbers of names exceeds the number of actual varieties. The meat in the sausages may be untreated (raw sausages) or may be cured, smoked or cooked. Spices, cereals including soy flour, and fat if not sufficient in the meat may be added for the required flavor and taste. Some of the more important types of sausage (according to the size of chopped meat); finely chopped-frankfurter, wiener, bologna, liver sausage, knockwurst, etc and the coarse cut-thuringer, smoked pork, semi-dry, dry, network, salami and pepperoni sausage (FAO, 1990).

Note that all references used in all postings related to the topic of sausages, meat and meat product colorings will be posted in the last article about this topic.
About the author
Mr. Sempiri Geoffery, the author of this article
graduated from Makerere University with a Bsc In Food Science and Technology Degree in January, 2011.